The current version of LeAnn Rimes the country singer is not the same one people remember when she broke onto the scene with “Blue” as a 13-year-old.
The once innocent teen is now a 30-year-old woman who has been emotionally toughened up by a barrage of negative life experiences that are clearly reflected in her music.
Rimes has been a popular target for critics and gossip magazines since Us broke a story about her affair with actor and current husband Eddie Cibrian in 2009. What followed was a public feud with Cibrian’s ex-wife, Brandi Glanville, who is a regular on The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills, a stay in a rehab clinic to be treated for an anxiety disorder, and constant hounding by paparazzi.
“The last 4 ½ years have not been easy. I’ve been up against a lot, so I’m extremely proud of where I am,” said Rimes, who will be in concert at the Hollywood Casino on Friday. “I think some people forgot that there was a human being with a beating heart behind everything they were writing and speculating about.”
Rimes said she’s done talking about Glanville, but has said there is a lot more to the story than people know.
She wed Cibrian in 2011 and has dealt with her anxiety, depression, and the public spotlight with an intense workout program and writing.
Her new album, “Spitfire,” was written mostly by her and is an emotional and honest work that allowed her to do a lot of soul-searching during the writing and recording process.
Her current single, “Borrowed,” was written by Rimes and is from the viewpoint of the other woman in an affair.
“It was scary to write something like ‘Borrowed.’ I think that’s where the whole album originated from. To be that honest, then I realized I could do that with the whole record,” she said.
“There were moments I was terrified to say some of the things I was saying. Also, at the same time, I was confronting myself with my own emotions while writing the song. It was an intense process for sure.”
Her critics were quick to jump on the first-week sales total of “Spitfire.” It sold 10,798 copies in the week after its June 4 release. But Rimes viewed that number as a success. Albums just don’t sell like they did when she sold 250,000 copies of “Blue” in the first two weeks after its release in 1996. “Spitfire” still landed in the Top 10 on the country albums chart.
“I see Top 10 as a pretty big positive,” she said. “I’ve sold 50 million albums, and I added on to that, so it’s not a bad thing. This album was already a success before anyone heard it. I’ve grown leaps and bounds as an artist, a person, a writer. I went places I’ve never gone before with this album.”
She has always found refuge on stage from life’s difficult times, and she’s looking forward to singing in Toledo and sharing the new music and the stories behind it.
“It’s almost like a storyteller’s kind of moment right now with my shows. I invite people to talk to me. When they get comfortable after the first few songs, people start screaming out requests and we end up veering off the set list a lot of times.
“It’s fun for me because I like being able to share stories. We play a lot of the hits, although it sounds a little different than when I was 13.”
LeAnn Rimes and special guest Joel Crouse will be in concert at the Hollywood Casino on Friday beginning at 8 p.m. Tickets are $30 and can be purchased at ticketweb.com or at the gift shop inside the casino. You must be 21 or older to attend.
Contact Brian Dugger at email@example.com or on Twitter @DuggerCountry.